I once heard someone say “There’s no such thing as happy places, only happy people.” Having lived in both large and small places, I can tell you that each has its pro’s and cons. And the size of the place never really made much of a difference for my overall happiness.

If you’re interested in building your own tiny home, check out the Tiny House Plans book. It has some great building plans.

If you’ve been contemplating moving into a smaller place, or already live in a small place and haven’t quite figured out how to make it work for you, here are a few tips.

Tip #1: Spend more time outdoors

When you’re outside it doesn’t matter how large or small your home is.

Tip #2: The Right Stuff

Go through a little bit of your stuff each week to weed out anything that’s not adding value. Just because you’ve had things for a long time doesn’t mean you should keep them forever.

Tip #3: Organize vertically

Clutter hides in a big home. But in a small home, clutter quickly gets in your way. Getting and staying organized is key.

When you don’t have a lot of floor space, you can use vertical space to make up the difference. Hang things on walls or from ceilings. This brings me to Tip #4.

Tip #4: Use your imagination

Some creativity and craftsmanship goes a long way.

  • Turn that space under the stairs into a bookshelf or drawers.
  • Try fold-away tables and desks.
  • Try bunk-beds for the kids.
  • Replace an awkward door with a sliding door.

The list of possibilities is truly endless. And if you can change your place structurally, you can do some really interesting and unique things that make the place even more fun to live in.

Here are a few more ideas to get you going.

Tip #5: Do interesting things with the money you’ll save.

Less space means less to heat, less to cool and less to clean. It can also mean a lower tax bill and probably means a lower mortgage or rent.

With all the money you’ll save on those expenses, you’ll be able to boost payments to debt, savings or investments. Or if you just want to live a little richer, you can do that too.

So there you have it. Living in a small space doesn’t have to mean going without. It can be an opportunity to shed clutter, save money and start a new chapter in life.

What’s your story? Are you thinking about down-sizing your living space? What makes it appealing to you. And what’s holding you back?

Check out Mr. Frugals tips on how to get the most out of purging your stuff.

22 Comments

  1. Ashley @ Money Talks Reply

    I always get so inspired when I go to Ikea. They have those tiny apartments set up and it’s amazing. I can’t imagine living in a tiny space with kids though. I could do it if I lived alone.

    • @Ashley – Funny you mention that. I think about that too. It’s so clever they way they set up 400-600 sq. ft. of space. of course it helps that they can ‘move’ walls around to make their furniture work. πŸ˜‰

  2. retirebyforty Reply

    When you have a smaller home, it is much easier to afford luxurious/eco friendly upgrades. For example, you can upgrade the flooring to cork. Cork is usually expensive, but if you have a smaller area, it would be more affordable. If you have a big house, you can’t get premium materials for the same budget. πŸ™‚

    • @Retireby40- I’ve heard of cork floors. I’ve sort of seen them; when we were looking at rental houses years ago, we came across a personally designed house with cork floors, but the room was dark due to no electricity. I couldn’t see them very well, but I hear they are great.

  3. A corner of my living room has been converted into an “office”. Maybe 30 square feet all total. πŸ˜€

    I agree, though. Take advantage of space you do have. Seek out where you may have “wasted” space, and turn it into usable space.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • @Grady – That’s a good tip. I do use some of the rooms throughout my place, just to a lesser extent. For instance, our living room; I’ll occasionally go in there to make a phone call and relax on the couch!

  4. We just got our first IKEA in Denver and I love the demo 300 sq foot loft and 550 sq foot apartments. I makes you realize what you can do with less space if you are smart about the organization and layout.

  5. krantcents Reply

    We downsized 14 years ago. We went from a 5 bedroom to a 2 bedroom townhouse. It is much easier since our kids are grown and we require much less. It helps that we live in southern California where we spend all year outside.

  6. Hunter @ Financially Consumed Reply

    I stayed in a Japanese Hotel that was more like the inside of a large refrigerator. It was so compact, but everything was there and it was really very comfortable. I often think we made a newbie homebuyer mistake for choosing the single family home in the burbs. There’s a lot of upside to unconventional housing, as you point out.

    • @Hunter – We haven’t purchased anything yet and have been debating what size of a place to buy. I’m leaning toward something smaller, Mr. LH is leaning toward something bigger. To me, I’d much rather choose a smaller place in a better location than vice versa. Being able to walk to ride a bike to the store is worth it.

  7. For some reason, I am drawn toward smaller homes lately. What I really want is a porch though. My current house is 2650 sq ft, which isn’t huge for 5 people, but it is still more space than we need. I mention moving once the kids graduate, and the kids all gasp in horror at the prospect.

    I too love putting things on walls. My office walls will soon be entirely covered with miscellaneous items.

    • @Everyday Tips – I love big wrap-around porches a well. Your kids may be fine with the idea once they move out; it’s probably just too sentimental to them right now. (I know – my parents moved a couple years after I graduated from HS. It was emotional for me to say good bye to the house I grew up in.) But, small houses do rock!

  8. We have a small house on a good piece of land. It would be such a different feel if we didn’t have all the outdoor space (and not in a good way)!
    My brother lives in Manhattan and they spend as much time at the park down the street as they do in their tiny apartment.

    • @Molly – I think that makes a difference – living in a small space, but having lots of outdoor areas to enjoy. My husband commented recently that he wants to see our neighbors by binoculars only when we do purchase a house. I’m not so sure I like the idea of having that much land, but I get the picture.

  9. retirebyforty Reply

    @Little House
    I have only seen cork flooring tiles in the show room. I’m usually barefoot indoor so I think the soft cork flooring would be great for me. Someday… πŸ™‚

  10. Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa Reply

    I think its important to also plan ahead. Don’t just move your stuff to the new space. Have a plan for when you get there.

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